Happy Children’s Day!

Jun 01, 2015

This year, I’m celebrating International Children’s Day with a throwback to my daughter’s first Birthday and the cake I made for her then. It had to be sugar-free and it had to contain raspberries, which are her favourite to this day.

Since at the time she was completely refusing to eat any type of cream, a layered cake was out of the question. I decided to go for a raspberry and rosewater cheesecake, that is neither very sweet, nor too heavy. It’s also not hard to make, which is always a plus. However, it’s an overnight cake, so you will need to plan ahead. Planning ahead is also helpful as you will need to freeze your raspberries before using for the topping you can do this while the cake is resting in the fridge.

For the base I used organic sugar-free children’s biscuits and added a little bit of beetroot juice for colour, but you can use regular graham crackers or better yet, Rose de Reims biscuits, if you can find them. The filling is a simple mixture of cream cheese, eggs, honey and rosewater. The raspberry jelly-looking topping is not difficult to make, but I recommend using arrowroot powder in lieu of any other type of starch, it’s healthier but also a bit more difficult to find. The cake was a success with everyone, especially with my daughter, who became an instant lover of this dessert, much to my content.

In our tradition, when a child turns 1, the godparents bring a braided bread (that resembles the Jewish Challah quite a lot), and they break this bread above the child’s head. Afterwards, a lock of the child’s hair is cut as a keepsake. Another thing that is customary is to lay out objects on a tray, have the child pick three of them and whatever she picks is presumably telling of her choices in the future. We’re not really big on traditions and we don’t believe in superstitions, but it was fun to have this celebration and we all enjoyed every part of it. Looking at these photos now brought me great joy and also a hint of melancholy, which I shook off quickly as we needed to go out and celebrate this year’s Children’s Day properly, in the now. What are you doing today to celebrate your kids? Or if you haven’t got kids, what are you doing for your inner child today?

Sugar-free Raspberry Cheesecake

For the crust:

250g/8oz sugar-free biscuits/graham crackers/speculoos/Biscuits Rose de Reims

90g/3 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

With the aid of a food processor or by hand, with a rolling pin, finely grind the biscuits and mix in well with the butter. Butter a 22cm/8in springform pan and press the biscuit mixture evenly into the pan using the bottom of a glass, then pop in the freezer.

For the filling:

750g/24oz cream cheese, at room temperature

150ml/¾ cup honey

3 free-range eggs

1-2 Tblsp rosewater

Preheat your oven to 150C/300F. In a bowl, with the aid of a mixer, beat the cream cheese and honey together until incorporated. Add one egg at a time and beat after each addition. Add the rosewater while beating on low speed and beat until the texture is creamy. Place the springform pan with the crust on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pour the filling evenly into the crust. Place the baking sheet with the cake in the middle rack of the oven. Fill a large roasting pan with water and place it on the bottom oven rack. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Once the oven has been turned off, let the cake cool inside the oven and leave the door closed. Once it has cooled completely, refrigerate overnight.

For the raspberry topping:

185g/1½ cup frozen raspberries, unthawed

A couple of fresh raspberries, to decorate

100g/½cup honey

1 Tblsp arrowroot starch

125ml/½ cup water

1 Tblsp rosewater

Place the honey and arrowroot powder in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Add water and stir everything well. Add the frozen raspberries and crush them with the aid of a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir continuously for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the raspberry topping so that the seeds are discarded. Take the cake out of the fridge, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Spread the topping over the chilled cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for another hour before serving. Above all, enjoy!

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